On January 11, Team 4201 attended FIRST’s first-ever virtual kickoff! We were all super excited to hear about the new challenges that were announced. The Skills Challenges include many of tasks that are familiar to us like shooting and driving, both manually and autonomously. The Game Design Challenge is an opportunity for teams to design their own robotics game with a possibility of their designs being used in a future season. Finally, the Innovation Challenge was introduced as a space for teams to create and pitch a solution to encourage mental and physical health. Our teammates showed a lot of interest in all three; so we’ve split up into groups and to start tackling them.

Our newest robot, TyrannoSWERVEis Rex, was a concept that we have been planning throughout our preseason. After reading the new rules, we decided it was a perfect fit for the Skills Challenges and began making small adjustments like removing the climber and control panel mechanisms in the CAD since those aspects are not in the challenges. T-Rex now includes a swerve drive base, intake mechanism, carousel indexer, uptake mechanism, and adjustable-angle shooter. Our students and mentors have been hard at work machining and assembling (while being socially distant), so we currently have a completed chassis and frame with the swerve modules attached. We are working on attaching the intake, assembling the carousel/uptake, and manufacturing the shooter. 

In order to prepare for this brand new robot, we’ve invested in a smaller swerve drivetrain for testing. This miniature bot was assembled at a team member’s house and is now at a second student’s home being used to test our team’s first ever swerve drive code that will later be transferred to T-Rex. We hope that this extra practice will make our final robot programming even smoother!

Our Game Design Team started the season with discussions about the Game Design Challenge Element (chain) and choosing a game object (a medicine ball). Once these choices were established, the team started to brainstorm and create the first iterations of game elements. In the next few weeks, we will be working on plans for an endgame and autonomous. The name of the game we are proposing will be called “Set Sail” and have a pirate/nautical theme.

The Innovation Challenge team has also been hard at work. The team has attended four Product Development and Design Thinking workshops run by FIRST California and interviewed three guest speakers from the medical and technology industry to gain a deeper understanding of both physical and mental health. They have brainstormed many ideas so far, and with the use of decision matrices, the Innovation Team has decided to tackle the problem of Sedentary Behavior which has long lasting impacts on people’s health. 

Thank you for your continued interest and support for our team. We hope to update you again soon!